On November 22nd, the 7th OVO Congress was held. The theme this time was "Africa and Europe hand in hand. A choice selection of speakers highlighted the major challenges facing Africa, but also the unique opportunities the continent has to offer.
Experienced OVO congress attendees couldn't agree more: this was the best OVO congress ever. All the ingredients to make it a success were present: top speakers who clearly knew what they were talking about, an enthusiastic audience, an enjoyable networking reception afterwards and a location to be proud of.
Indeed, the conference took place in the new imposing headquarters of OVO's key member BNP Paribas Fortis. So the first guest introduced by moderator Freddy De Mulder was Herman Daems, chairman of the bank's Board of Directors and host of the evening. He stated that development, entrepreneurship and sustainability are not easy to combine, but thanks to technology it is possible. Africa can grow faster without the ecological problems facing the Western world. Technology should make that possible. The second speaker of the evening agreed. Luc Bonte, chairman of the OVO Board of Directors since 2008, raised the question of how we can reduce our ecological impact and still give people a better life. The answer is contained in OVO's mission: to promote sustainable entrepreneurship. Fortunately, Africa has the great advantage of having a very young population that is fast embracing new technologies.
OVO celebrates its 22nd anniversary
The conference was simultaneously a birthday celebration, as this year OVO is celebrating its 22nd anniversary. Joris Totté, advisor to the Minister of Development Cooperation, congratulated the organization for its 22 years of cooperation with African entrepreneurs and praised the volunteers and partner companies. He also pointed out that investing in this young continent (60% of the population is under 25) can bring a huge "return," both for Africa and Europe. And the only way, according to him, is by supporting sustainable entrepreneurship, because that provides good jobs and a livable income.